Hello ADHD as an Adult

Hi everyone,

My name is Emily and I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid. No idea when, only that that it was a thing I always knew about myself even when I had no idea what those letters meant. When adults or other kids told me I was too loud or too hyper or to stop bouncing, I always just told them that I had ADHD, though I could never remember what that meant. I was a very stereotypical ADHD kid. There would be no doubt about my diagnosis. Elementary school and jr high were a bit of a struggle for me. I couldn’t focus in class, I couldn’t sit still, my attitude was too much for some of my classmates, i dont think I was very spatially or socially aware until maybe 8th grade (I kid you not I ran into walls and doors a lot). Luckily, my mother is a special ed teacher and she worked with me and my sister (who had asperger’s and ADD) on coping mechanisms and tricks to make school “easier”. Highschool was so much better. I still couldn’t focus through lectures, and history class was an absolute loss, but I managed to become an A student. I graduated college with a 4.0 and a false idea that I had somehow beat or grown out of ADHD.
Boy was I wrong.
I went back to school for another degree, started living on my own, and started working in my field of study. And it was like my ADHD came back with a vengeance. Not that it ever really left. I realize now that I became adept at managing my issues and symptoms in the environment I was currently in. I became very good at making up for my shortcomings or just hiding them. However when my environment changed I had a hard time coming up with new habits and ways to function.
Now I’m out of school and I’ve moved away from home and it’s just been an absolute struggle to function. I can’t keep things in my head, when my supervisor gives me verbal instructions I have to write them down or I wont remember them, I start doubting if I heard them correctly. Or she has to repeat them several times because I just cant seem to understand what she is saying. My procrastination is back in such an odd way that I have trouble understanding it. I know I need to send that email, like two days ago, but I just cant. And sometimes I’ll just shut down because I know I need to do the thing before the other things but instead I just do nothing.
So, recently I’ve started really looking into ADHD. Despite it being something I’ve had my whole life I never really looked into it. I just adapted the best I could. Now i just feel like I’m not functioning right, like everyone else has recieved a set of directions and I didn’t.
What I’m finding terrifying is how much of my daily life and habits are connected Adhd. It’s nice to learn about things like Emotional Dysregulation and working memory, but also frustrating.
I have never tried adhd meds though I have thought about it a bit these last few years. I just always think that I am functioning “well enough” and I’m afraid of what meds might do. Whether it will mess with my current normal or help it.
I found How To ADHD while doing my casual research and found her channel very encouraging. I’m looking forward to connecting with you all through this community.

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Welcome Emily!
Great to read your story and how well you’ve been able to manage it. I think, at least from what I read, it’s really great that you’ve known what you have and it seems to me you don’t have that guilt that many of us had because we were underperforming and felt lazy or many other adjectives that messes with our feelings.
Are you seeing someone about it? if not I think you’d probably benefit from it, perhaps as you mention some medication might do wonders.

In my case I learned about my ADHD about a month ago and I’m 33, no one cared really about my situation because I have a high IQ and have generally performed better than most people. But I was feeling guilty because I knew I could do better but I was very, very tired. And if I mentioned it to anyone they’d say: “but you’re doing alright, why do you feel bad about what you’re doing?” or “well take a vacation”, which only made me feel worse, as if my issue was a “first world problem” as I’ve been doing well overall.

My meds, even at a low dose, give me such a better understanding of my thoughts and what I have to do, in what order, to be able to succeed. And how it has helped me not only to regulate my emotions, but also to understand them when I’m not on the meds.

All the best to you and keep us updated!

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Hi! Thanks!
I think I am doing pretty well and I think i owe a lot of that to having parents who knew about ADHD and were patient and willing to work with me. I remember my dad telling me a that I would have melt downs all the time when we went to stores or things and he could see that I didnt want to be behaving the way I was but I couldn’t stop. My support system was really good.
My sister has been on meds since we were kids, some non stimulant I cant remember the name of is what shes taking at the moment, and I remember how much - dont want to say ‘better’- I guess how much more often she seemed like herself. She has switched meds a few times and she deals with some side effects and struggles with them on top of her aspies and add and I just never really want to add another struggle to my pile.
But I have never been against medication. Or had a bad stigma towards it because in my mind they sort of gave me my sister back. So it’s kind of great to hear you say that meds are helping and making a positive change in your life.
I do still feel guilty at times though. I’m not above that. Why do i feel unhappy when I have so much support? I have been lucky and blessed and yet I’m still struggling, something must be wrong with me. Why can’t I make a phone call without have a freak out? Or more recently I just regret everything I say to people, especially when I get overly excited and tend to overshare. I still feel that. I still have moments where I sit on the kitchen floor and cry my eyes out for no apparent reason. I just often have to remind myself the feelings I’m having in the moment probably wont be so strong in an hour or two. My new thing when I start to think I’m bothering people or that everyone secretly hates me (dramatic but hey) is that it is very rude to assume I know thier thoughts and feelings. I hate when other people tell me how I feel or what Im thinking. To put words in someones mouth like that without actually knowing their thoughts is cruel to the person and to yourself.
Have you ever done therapy?
I am hoping that talking more openly with people who share similar challenges will help me overcome some of the feelings of self hate and guilt. As well as help with finding new habits and coping mechanisms for daily life.
Thanks for replying :blush:

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Welcome @TartsandTangents

I just need to say that i feel you.

I have the same problems at the time.

10 days ago I had a complete meltdown… Monday, I wake up it’s early, 4 AM all that need to do immediately keeps pooping up in my head overwhelming me. And I didn’t want to go to work I was so frustrated. Eventually 4 hours later i stand up anyway and get dressed. But I didn’t go to work instead I wandered around my city, around the central train station with my laptop on my shoulder (7kg) trying to escape or explain to myself what the heck is wrong with me. The whole day went like that… then at some point I decided to just keep on walking, hoping that something (car or a bus or a train) hits me to free me from whatever I was feeling and to rest my mind.

That is the moment I realized that I need to see a doctor. So the next day I pushed myself to my doctor and just explained how I feel. Tomorrow I have a appointment with a psychotherapist because I am so scared that I might lose control and do something stupid or something I will regret forever because I feel stuck at the moment.

That being said I think @panchopin has a really good point. Maybe you should consider some professional help.

Yeah, it has been something I have been considering. If only just to give it a shot. I guess I mostly have the same silly fears as most people: what’s if it’s all in my head? What if I’m making a big deal out of nothing?
Which is silly. I know. I think maybe when things calm down at work a bit and I can get back into a normal routine I might consider looking into reaching out to someone. Worst comes to worse I decide it’s not for me, right?
I’m glad you made the decision to get help. I hope that your appointment tomorrow goes well.
I so understand the walking thing. I dont know if you feel the same but when I am upset, overwhelmed, or just starting to think I’m not a real person I find going for a walk REALLY helps. Something about the change in scenery, combined with the physical activity, and a good playlist. If the restless intrusive thoughts wont calm down I usually start counting either heartbeats (I find feeling my pulse is a really good grounding technique. I’m still alive, my hearts still beating, the overwhelming walls closing in feeling is just a feeling) or the beats of the song.
Another way I cope with such feelings is to go to a coffee shop. I sit with my laptop or a book and listen to music, order a pricey drink I like, sometimes a dress up, and I just sit there for a few hours. I make it into an event. The little bit of indulging and “me time” helps me calm down some. (That being said I had a bit of a meltdown at the coffee shop a couple months ago where I ended up crying in public and it was super embarrassing. So, let’s just say I switched coffee shops.)
I know I have issues with separating the “now” from the “later”. I am often plagued by thoughts like “Am I going to feel this way the rest of my life?”. That’s such a scary thought and when I am having a hard day or a melt down it feels like the answer is yes, because how can there possibly be any other feeling other than the one I’m currently trapped in? However, they pass. They always pass. Sometimes I say or do stupid things before they do and I end up with regret or shame. But that too will pass.

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You made me laugh at this one:

But i think I know what you mean.

Yeah, give it a shot. Maybe talk with your parents and then decide. Anyway… I would really like to know what you decided to do, so @TartsandTangents please keep us updated.

This is the first time I’ve decided to go to therapy so i can’t tell how it is.

I think a big factor is that this is the first time I am really alone and have no one to lean on like before in my hometown. Without my best friend it isn’t so easy since she always protected me and explained my behavior to everyone when i messed up… maybe it is the same factor that is making you feeling so confused.

Will do. :grin:
Lol. Probably should have put normal work hours. More accurate.

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My therapist asked me today: “if i truly believe that something like “normal” exists”

So what the heck is normal? I don’t know I’m freaking out every day about something that I don’t really like.

So now 10 hours later in the middle of the night here in Germany i came to the conclusion that for me normal = boring and i don’t like it but also i have no idea how to escape this circle

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I had a conversation once with my father where he insisted I was “normal”. It came from the best intentions, a way of telling me everyone has problems and that it’s okay. However I remember being so upset at him. Because to me normal is a perception. A standard.
I know everyone has their struggles of course.p However, I was having trouble reaching that standard. For example. Think of it like passing in homework during high school. Passing in the homework was the normal thing. Some kids did their homework right after it was assigned, others that night, the day before it was due, the morning of, and some where quickly copying answers before the teacher would come in to the room. It wouldn’t matter how the homework got done as long as it was passed in, right? Everyone’s different and they do things differently. The concept of a person being ‘normal’ sounds like some sort of weird clone thing where no one has an individualistic personality. How ever the problem some people have (in the scenerio) is actually doing the homework. The normal thing.
Sometimes its like everyone else has gotten the memo and I either just cant bring myself to do the assignment or I just dont understand it, you know? Except the assignment it “life” and I cant just not do that.
I dont know if that makes as much sense outside of my head but it’s the best way i could think of describing what normal means to me.
So what does normal mean to you? What is it that makes you use that word?
“Normal = boring and i don’t like it but also i have no idea how to escape this circle”
What circle?

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Oh man i am so sorry i was MIA i was totally fixated on something else and just now logged back in.

Thanks for your answer i think i understand what u mean.

So this circle i am talking about is of me constantly filling my brain with information about “things” i mean literally everything. It is just so exhausting but i can’t stop. It’s is just not the way it should be i think. And in the middle of it i stop and take one something else it’s just driving me insane. I just wish i could stop and do 1 thing at the time. The other day i wanted to buy some oil and ended up researching how exactly it’s made i men wtf what the heck do i need this knowledge for. It ended up eating my whole Saturday and that made me so mad at myself. And now this Corona crisis it is just so so exhausting:(

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Welcome, I’m new here and I’m also an Adult ADHD lady. I showed a lot of signs early but wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood, even though I was a major discipline problem in school. I kind of gave up on treatment for a while, but the ADHD community has grown and people are more aware of it now. I feel you on being unfamiliar with the emotional dysregulation stuff- I was in a habit of ignoring emotional problems for a long time, so it’s all new to me now.

On a positive note seems like there’s never been a better time to get active in your treatment, so best of luck to you! You’re not alone in feeling intimidated by ADHD symptoms- a little support went a long way towards helping me confront mine instead of shoving them in the closet and hoping they didn’t fall out. Which, incidentally, is also how I handle more physical messes.

What I’ve been told and I’m trying to remember is, ADHD is a part of me, but it’s not my defining aspect. It got a lot less scary when I realized ADHD is a trait, like myopia, not an invisible puppetmaster stringing me along.

On meds: Adderall didn’t work for me but finding that out didn’t ruin my life or anything. It’s ultimately you and your physician’s decision once you’ve weighed the pros and cons. I’m setting up an appointment to discuss different kinds of them myself, still fence sitting at the moment.

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Thanks foe your answer…
It’s hard for me to not be hard on myself. Most of the time I don’t realize I am beating myself up over things…

Yeah.

So that is that.

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i havent read everything above, but why do you beat yourself up over things?

:confused:
if you want to tell me! you dont have to. dont feel pushed please!

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Because sometimes it really feels like i don’t get life. U know? :woman_shrugging:

I just don’t understand it. Somedays doesn’t feel real. And then i get sucked in some Idea and then i get frustrated because i am not able to implement it. And on we go

But apparently i am great at helping others. But i am not great at helping myself :sweat_smile:

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especially that last sentence! a lot of people feel like that, me too! Don’t worry! but please dont let this darkness eat you

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nah… i won’t i shake it off most of the time. His Forum helps a lot. Having people here who understand how one feels helps a lot.

I built a habit early on to focus on the good things.

Thanks a lot for your time :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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no problem :slight_smile: stay healthy!

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This response is very encouraging for me. I’m also recently just realizing my own “Brain”, and understanding that I very likely have ADHD. I’m going to see a psychiatrist but in the meantime am trying to gather as much info as possible.

For instance the low dose of mediation you mentioned, (if you don’t mind me asking) is that a stimulant or non-stimulant?

Do you know which type of ADHD medication works best for which type of ADHD?

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Hello, we are all different and there is no set formula on which medication and dosage works for any one person. Some people experience a profound effect from the first medication they try at the lowest dose, for most people it takes longer, for some the meds don’t work.

When you get an ADHD diagnosis, the Psychiatrist will decide which is the best option to try, based on their experience and your individual situation. There is a high probability to be some degree of trial and error in the process.

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Thank you so much for your advice. :slight_smile:

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